Beaten officer 'did not follow procedure'

MARYANNE TWENTYMAN
Last updated 05:00 18/01/2013

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The Kawhia officer who was beaten after Tasering a youth in the small Waikato township last week gave a presentation to a community group on Taser use only weeks earlier.

But one woman who saw the presentation says he didn't follow the procedures he demonstrated when he drew the weapon for real.

Two months ago, Kawhia youth worker Karen Bishop attended a presentation by Constable Perry Griffin at the Kawhia Maori Women's Welfare League where he gave a demonstration that included the use of Tasers and the protocols around their use.

Mrs Bishop's three teenage children witnessed last Friday's incident at Kawhia's wharf when Mr Griffin pepper sprayed and Tasered 19-year-old Jackie Maikuku while attempting to arrest him.

Maikuku and another man are facing charges of assault and resisting arrest after allegedly beating Mr Griffin after the Tasering, while police also yesterday referred a 15-year-old to Youth Aid in relation to the incident.

Mrs Bishop has also seen video footage of the Tasering and said it appeared the same series of commands he demonstrated in his presentation were not used in the wharf incident.

"There are things they have to say, things about the fact that it's 50,000 volts and various warnings - the same ones used by the officer from Te Awamutu who Jackie willingly followed and complied with when he arrived but Griff said none of that; there were no warnings."

But western Waikato area commander Inspector Paul Carpenter said Mr Griffin followed correct procedures.

Police protocols state that "when considering the use of a Taser, the police officer must have an honest belief that the subject, by age, size, apparent physical ability, threats made, or a combination of these, is capable of carrying out the threat posed".

A Taser fires two barbs delivering a 50,000-volt electric shock to stun offenders. Information provided by police national headquarters show that between the rollout of Tasers in April 2010 and June 2012, police had presented or "shown" the Taser 1320 times and discharged it on a further 212 occasions.

Mr Carpenter said more witnesses to the attack had come forward with information, and images had been supplied by locals and from as far away as Taranaki, Feilding and Whangamata from people who were visiting the area at the time of the attack.

"The images and information provided are assisting us greatly in building an accurate picture of what happened before, during and after the event as we work to build up a case that will have its eventual conclusion in court."

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Mr Griffin was still recuperating and had not yet decided when he would return to work and Kawhia was being covered by other police, Mr Carpenter said.

WHEN COPS CAN TASER

Defending themselves or others if they fear physical injury and cannot reasonably protect either party less forcefully.

Arresting an offender if they believe, on reasonable grounds, the offender poses a threat of physical injury and the arrest cannot be effected less forcefully.

Resolving an incident where a person is acting in a manner likely to physically injure themselves and the incident cannot be resolved less forcefully.

Preventing the escape of an offender if they believe, on reasonable grounds, the offender poses a threat of physical injury to any person and the escape cannot be prevented less forcefully.

Deterring attacking animals.

- Waikato Times

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